Thames Path Guided Trail
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Meadows & hills
Choosing the level of your walks
Our easy grading system shows whether a region offer gentle strolls or more challenging routes to help you choose the right holiday for you. Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we grade our walks 1 to 5 (where 1 is easy and 5 hard). Our challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
The Thames Path National Trail follows the course of the River Thames from the Thames Barrier below London to its source near Kemble in Gloucestershire, a distance of some 180 miles. Our holiday covers the stretch from Oxford with its dreaming spires to its source in the Cotswolds. There is rich historical interest and peaceful riverside paths, teaming with birds and wildlife interspersed with pretty honey coloured Cotswold villages on the way.
- Walk the beautiful upper reaches of the River Thames
- From Oxford’s dreaming spires to Cotswold villages
- Stay at Harrington House in Bourton-on-the-Water
Dating from the Tudor period and of, considerable historic interest, Harrington House mirrors the mellow architectural style of the Cotswolds. Its peaceful atmosphere and proximity to the charming centre of Bourton-on-the-Water make it ideal for those who prefer a less active holiday.
Harrington House has 29 bedrooms. Most are located in the main house, with others in the adjacent cottages.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:
Only an extra £20 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our optional evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Due to the layout and age of Harrington House, it is not recommended for wheelchair users or anyone with restricted mobility.
Although one bedroom has wheelchair access, the access to the main house has some steps and internally there are some steps to negotiate.
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
Day 1: Arrival Day
Day 2: Osney Bridge to Bablock Hythe
We quickly lose sight of the dreaming spires and suburbs of Oxford and enter lush water meadows. We will see Port Meadow, ancient common grazing land presented to the Burgesses of Oxford by William the Conqueror and the remains of the Benedictine nunnery at Godstow; founded in 1139. We continue to Swinford Bridge, one of the two remaining toll bridges across the Thames. At Pinkhill Lock the path leaves the river and crosses fields to reach Bablock Hythe. 12 miles (19km) with 250 feet (75m) of ascent.
Day 3: Bablock Hythe to Tadpole Bridge
We follow the river to the remote lock at Northmoor. We look at one of the weirs which retain the paddle construction of earlier times and continue to Newbridge, the second oldest of the Thames bridges. A remote meandering section of our walk follows with few signs of habitation. We see an isolated chapel in fields at Shifford, once an important town where a thousand years ago King Alfred held a meeting of the English Parliament. We follow Shifford Lock Cut, before rejoining the river to Tadpole Bridge, which was built to carry the turnpike road to Bampton. 9.5 miles (16km) with 200 feet (60m) of ascent.
Day 4: Rest Day
A day without any walks programmed, giving you the opportunity to explore the local area independently
Day 5: Tadpole Bridge to Lechlade
We follow a towpath all the way to Lechlade. At Rushey Lock we shall see another paddle-weir and, over a side channel at Radcot, the oldest bridge on the Thames. We pass close to Kelmscott Manor; a house lived in by William Morris and his family for 25 years, before coming to Buscot Lock, where the National Trust has restored the lock-keeper’s cottage. After St John’s Lock, we continue to Lechlade. 10.5 miles (17km) with 200 feet (60m).
Day 6: Lechlade to Cricklade
Leaving Lechlade at Halfpenny Bridge, we follow the towpath to Inglesham Round House, the point where the Thames and Severn Canal once joined the river, and cross fields to visit the 13th century church at Inglesham. Inspired by William Morris, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings carefully restored the church in the 1880s. There are a few sections of road walking. We rejoin the river for the final section into Cricklade. 11 miles (17.5km) with 230 feet (70m) of ascent.
Day 7: Cricklade to the source
We cross the River Churn and enter the North Meadow Nature Reserve. After passing the Latton Aqueduct, a relic of the North Wiltshire Canal, we follow paths through the Cotswold Water Park, created by the flooding of old gravel pits. Frequent glimpses of the Thames headwaters lead us on to Ashton Keynes where the path will bring us to the last bridge where water can sometimes be seen. Near Upper Mill Farm, once a water mill, a windpump marks a spot where water used to rise vigorously but thereafter it is only just possible to discern the line of the river. We continue across open fields to reach the simple marble slab in Trewsbury Mead that marks the official source of the river and the end of our journey. 12.5 miles (20.5km) with 400 feet (120m) of ascent.
The itinerary may be subject to change at the discretion of the leader with regard to the weather and other external factors.
Discover the Cotswolds
Bourton-on-the-Water is situated at the heart of the Cotswolds, a beautiful area of rolling green hills and attractive stone towns and villages.
Harrington House is located in a quiet street, just 100 metres from the centre of Bourton. This is one of the most popular villages in the Cotswolds, frequently busy with visitors. The River Windrush winds its way through the central village green and is crossed by a series of attractive stone bridges.
Bourton-on-the-Water is a popular destination in its own right with its specialist shops and attractive village green. Local attractions include the motor museum, model village and Birdland wildlife park, all within easy walking distance.
The village has a good range of facilities including a small supermarket, post office, newsagent, pubs and bank.
During your stay at Harrington House you may enjoy visiting the following places of interest:
The mellow market town of Chipping Campden, about 30 minutes' drive north of Bourton-on-the-Water, is one of the most visited towns in the Cotswolds.
Hidcote Manor Gardens
Owned by the National Trust, Hidcote is a small manor house with an exceptional garden designed in the Arts and Crafts style. Around 35 minutes' north from Bourton-on-the-Water. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hidcote
Considered as one of the most beautiful villages in Britain it is easy to see why so many visitors are attracted to Broadway. Don’t let this put you off; Broadway is still worth a visit. To get away from the crowds, consider a walk to Broadway Tower for stunning views of the Vale of Evesham. Around 30 minutes' drive from Bourton.
Famous for its Shakespeare connections, Stratford is an attractive town spanning the River Avon. Of particular interest are the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Shakespeare Birthplace Museum. Around 40 minutes' drive from Bourton. www.rsc.org.uk or www.shakespeare.org.uk
Blenheim Palace is one of the grandest and best-known stately homes in Britain. It sits in extensive parkland and is also famous as the ancestral home of Winston Churchill. www.blenheimpalace.com
The fine Regency spa town of Cheltenham has an excellent range of shops and facilities. Cheltenham is around 25 minutes' drive from Bourton, and can also be reached by an hourly local bus.
The Cathedral city of Gloucester is about 35 minutes' drive to the west of Bourton. The fine Norman cathedral is well worth visiting, as is the National Waterways Museum. www.gloucestercathedral.org.uk or www.canalrivertrust.org.uk
Gloucestershire & Warwickshire Railway
Ride the steam railway through attractive Cotswold countryside from Cheltenham to Toddington about 30 minutes' drive from Bourton. Now restored, this was once the Great Western main line to Birmingham. www.gwsr.com
The famous university city of Oxford is about an hour’s drive from Bourton-on-the-Water. You may wish to stroll through the historic colleges or visit the Ashmolean Museum. www.ashmolean.org
Hidcote Gardens image ©National Trust Images/Jonathan Buckley
Travel to Bourton-on-the-Water
Our address is: Harrington House, Sherborne Street, Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, GL54 2BY
The nearest railway station is Moreton-in-Marsh. However, the nearest mainline station is at Cheltenham Spa which may be more convenient. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
From Moreton-in-Marsh station a taxi takes approximately 20 minutes and costs £21 if pre-booked. From Cheltenham Spa station a taxi takes around 30 minutes and costs £40 if pre-booked. Details of our current recommended taxi company and rates will be sent to you with your booking. The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Harrington House Manager.
From Moreton-in-Marsh station catch the 801 bus to Bourton-on-the-Water,from where it is a short walk to our Country House. Alight next to the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Shop. Cross the road to the war memorial and continue across the bridge. Follow this road for 150 metres until the road forks. Harrington House is on the left.
From the A429 take the road into the centre of Bourton-on-the-Water. At the war memorial by the village green, turn into Sherborne Street. Cross the narrow bridge and continue for approximately 100yds. Just before the road forks, Harrington House is on the left. Look out for our sign. A car park is available in the grounds with free parking.
Travelling from overseas
For most guests, travelling to London Heathrow airport is the most convenient option.
From Heathrow first take the train to London Paddington station. From here there are direct trains to Moreton-in-Marsh. It's a relatively straightforward journey - just over 2 hours. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for train times.
From Moreton-in-Marsh you can travel on to Bourton-on-the-Water by bus or taxi (see above).
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Dates & Prices
|Date||Description||Nights||Brochure price||Buy today for||Book|
|25 Oct 2019||BNLTT - Thames Path - Bourton-on-the-Water||7||£819.00||£799.00||Book Now|
Prices are per person
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person